Historic Collinsville may be the best-kept secret in Tennessee – even though it’s been open to the public for 20 years.

The privately-owned, off-the-beaten-path pioneer settlement first opened in 1974 to give children a “hands-on” experience, outside of the classroom, about life in the 1800s. It’s been open to the public since 1997, recreating the past with 18 historical structures each filled with authentic period furnishings dating from 1830-1870 that show a glimpse of life before and after the Civil War.

The beautiful 40-acre rural location about 15 miles south of Clarksville where the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Iroquois, and Shawnee Indians traveled and where the soldiers of the North and South met, now hosts events around the year that both educate and entertain.

Saturday, October 20 is the closing day of Collinsville’s regular season and guests are invited to celebrate with a Fall Pilgrimage. The event showcases spinners, weavers, children’s games, hayrides, pumpkins, make-and-take crafts, craft vendors, food, and live bluegrass music throughout the day. Pilgrimage hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Docents will take guests on guided tours during Candlelight Christmas December 14-15. Experience each home and structure with primitive period holiday décor. Stroll through the earliest First Home or Lewis House, a two-room primitive pre-Civil War dwelling, explore the expansive Dogtrot House, and see the smokehouse, church/schoolhouse, wildlife center, and more. Tours depart from the Visitor Center on the half hour from 4-8 p.m.

Enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt on April 20 and Spring Homecoming, the official season opening, on Saturday, May 4.

Summer activities include Southside Summer Nights, a new monthly Friday evening concert series of bluegrass and gospel music, and a Battle of Riggins Hill reenactment June 28-30 with a cotillion and ladies tea. The Battle of Riggins Hill in 1862 was the only Civil War battle fought in Montgomery County. The Union was intent on capturing Clarksville to gain control of the Cumberland River and its vital supply chain.

Historic Collinsville is open for self-guided tours April 25 through October 19, Thursday – Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Regular admission is $7, children under five are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Special event day admission is $10 for adults; $7 for children ages 6-12. For directions or more information call Linda Ebel at 931-245-4344, visit www.historiccollinsville.com or find them on Facebook. CASH ONLY.